|Call for Texas to follow counties' pragmatic approach: end prison gerrymandering Grits for Breakfast argues that Texas should follow its local governments' pragmatic approach to redistricting and avoid prison gerrymandering. Read more||Texas counties favor fairness and common sense over prison gerrymandering Austin American Statesman article by Jonathan Tilove highlights rural Texas counties taking a stand against prison gerrymandering. Read more||Avoiding prison gerrymandering is often a matter of common sense: Texas and Louisiana research update New data shows that communities facing the most dramatic potential vote dilution from prison gerrymandering are most likely to reject the Census Bureau’s.... Read more|
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Looking at the 2000 Census, the founders of the Prison Policy Initiative discovered that the sheer size of the prison population was combining with an outdated Census Bureau rule to seriously distort how political decisions are made in this country. In a series of reports, we put numbers on the problem of prison-based gerrymandering, suggested solutions, and sparked a national movement.
Since then, we’ve made tremendous progress towards ending prison gerrymandering:
“There are many ways to hijack political power. One of them is to draw state or city legislative districts around large prisons — and pretend that the inmates are legitimate constituents.”—Brent Staples
Called prison gerrymandering, the practice finds its clearest example in Anamosa, Iowa where a large prison was almost an entire city council district. Council districts are supposed to contain the same number of people, but basing districts on non-voting non-resident prison populations gives a handful of residents the same political power as thousands of residents elsewhere in the city.
|50 State Guide to Fixing Prison-Based Gerrymandering
by Peter Wagner, Aleks Kajstura, Elena Lavarreda, Christian de Ocejo, and Sheila Vennell O'Rourke, March 2010
Preventing prison-based gerrymandering in redistricting: What to watch for
by Peter Wagner and Brenda Wright, Prison Policy Initiative and Demos, February 23, 2011 [En Español]